Midlife Men in Andropause

February 9, 2009 |

jed1Read today’s San Francisco Chronicle to discover whether a male midlife crisis is more than a state of mind, or linked to andropause, hormonal changes occurring in midlife men that is the equivalent of perimenopause and menopause in women.

According to psychotherapist and male midlife expert Jed Diamond (pictured), author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Aggression and Depression, men suffer from the effects declining hormone levels as they age. There’s evidence that reduced testosterone in some men can cause moodiness and irritability, flagging sex drive, reduced muscle strength and loss of male identity. Some NIMH peer reviewed studies have also shown that giving back androgens like DHEA and testosterone improves the mood of men in midlife with declining testosterone levels.

Interestingly, he says that men go through a number of hormonal, physiological, interpersonal, sexual and spiritual changes, just like women do. But in women, the physiological changes are emphasized, whereas in men we note the psychological and social behaviors, like buying that red sports car as sign of attempting to recapture lost youth, and ignore the hormonal and physiological changes.

Dr. Diamond offers an inexpensive AliveGuide program on his website, with a combination of online therapy sessions, a workshop and a workbook for men to record their progress. Available at any time of day or night, it’s a flexible approach to education and treatment for midlife men.

Read the rest of the article to see the discover the four keys to male irritability, a short quiz to identify if you, or your partner, show signs of irritability. There are also helpful tips for helping partners to communicate and understand and work through it.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Dr. Frank Bonkowski on February 19, 2009 9:04 am

    Dr. Fred Horowitz and I write for Third Agers. We admire the work of William Sadler, Ph.D. of the Center for Third Age Leadership who offers a refreshing perspective on male midlife crisis. He says that “crises do occur in midlife but they are usually caused by a variety of factors, certainly not by chronology alone.” He sees midlife as an opportunity for liberation, for freedom. Dr. Fred and I believe that we don’t have to be defined by our old scripts. We are free to discover new things about ourselves, new ideas, talents, interests- basically this could be a time for adult renewal or reinvention. This applies to both sexes equally.

  2. admin on February 19, 2009 2:20 pm

    Thanks for your comment – and we certainly agree! Midlife can be a liberating time for both men and women – if they navigate the passage thoughtfully. Crisis or chronology, hormones or circumstance – they are ‘mutually arising’, different for everyone, and perhaps difficult to unravel, aren’t they? We think of Carl Jung, who said that he never met anyone over the age of 35 whose difficulties were not resolved by exploring the spiritual side of life. That a felt transition exists is real … as is the call for reflection. And that is refreshing!

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